As part of my public service career at the Federal level, I served as a Special Advisor to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo, on Donor Coordination and Infrastructure Financing. The designation of my portfolio was guided by our realization of the inability of government to provide sufficient funds for the development of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. In spite of the amount of money invested by the federal government since the conception of the capital city, as at 2009, the 8,000 square meters that represents the Federal Capital City (FCC) was only 20% done in terms of district development. As at that time, the population of the city was growing astronomically while its engineering infrastructure was failing having been constructed 30 years earlier.
The statutory allocation of the FCT was also weaning due to paucity of funds accruing to the Federation Account and additional responsibilities being shouldered by the Federal Government. As it was, the pressure on the existing infrastructure as the city strove to serve its functions as the capital city of a growing Nigeria, increased population due to urban-pull, aging infrastructure, and the need to open up undeveloped districts made it clear that funds accruing from the city’s statutory allocations will not be enough to develop the city fast enough to meet the growing needs of its citizens, residents, and visitors. It then became imperative to explore the use of private investment in public infrastructure in raising the funds for district development in the FCC as a viable funding alternative.
On my advice, the FCT created a one-stop-shop for the promotion of Private Participation in Public Infrastructure, which it named the Abuja Infrastructure Investment Center (AIIC) to which I became its first Coordinator. The center still exists and has continued to provide essential services to the FCT and the nation by leading Public Private Partnership endeavors in District Development and other spheres.
After my surgeon at the FCT I also served as a Technical Assistant to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Mansur Muhtar, from where I was appointed the Director General of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s Presidential Task Force on Customs Reform. The agency was charged with the responsibility for the reform and modernization of the Nigeria Customs Service at a time when Nigeria migrated its Customs emphasis from pre-shipment inspection to destination inspection. Under my guidance, the Task Force received significant technical assistance from USAID and the World Customs Organization (WCO), which led to the generation of a comprehensive pathway for the reform and modernization of the Nigeria Customs Service. Our report was validated by a special Mission of the IMF on Customs Reform, which we submitted to Government for implementation in April 2010.